|Description||One of the long standing customs in Maharashtra is that of men wearing Phetas (turbans) for weddings. Always worn with ethnic outfits, the most popular Indian wedding attire for men, though they can be worn with outfits like kurtas or dhotis. The designer or festival phetas are inspired by the fashion traditions of the royal families of India and hence add a regal feel to any ethnic men’s outfit. The men’s turban hat is a classic Indian head wrap which is a necessary accessory at any Indian wedding.|
India has been a land of different cultures and traditions which all come together in a distinct, yet unified way. Different turbans and their unique styles vary from state to state and from one tradition to the another. The Marathi Pheta (Turban) is a style of wearing a turban, exclusively found in Maharashtra. This traditional turban of Maharashtra soaked in rich colors of Saffron and White captures the essence of a real Maratha dynasty. A symbol of pride and prestige, this head gear is worn as the sign of loyalty and love for the culture, especially during religious functions and wedding ceremonies.
The royals of Maharashtra state since prehistoric times left behind a legacy of wearing a ‘pagdi, in other words a head gear which till date plays a significant role when it comes to traditional costumes and attires for the men living in Maharashtra. The origin of the traditional crown of Maharashtra can be traced back to the Peshwa Era which witnessed legendary warriors like Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Rani Lakshmibai and distinguished personalities like Sant Tukaram and many more. According to certain historical accounts, the Marathi Pheta is originated under the benefaction of Shivaji’s rule in our own town Kolhapur, which is today considered as the historical capital of Maharashtra.
Kolhapur is a home to various Indian ethnic fashion statements which include the famous Kolhapuri chappals (shoes), spices, and shoes other than the Kolhapuri Pheta, which is considered a type of variety on its own. Basically the traditional marathi Pheta was worn on auspicious and religious ceremonies, whereas during the non-festive period, a cloth turban called the Mundasa was draped around the head which is generally orange in color.
In old days, a traditional Pheta was basically worn by the elder men of the families as a mark of respect and a gesture of gratitude and dignity that it depicted. It was considered to be a cultural ritual and a tradition which was earlier regarded mandatory for the Maharashtrian men. The length of Pheta is usually 3.5 to 6 meters long and has a width of approximately 1 meter. Colors vary depending on the occasions; however the typical famous ones include Saffron which exhibits valor, and White which represents peace. The fabric used to make the Pheta is mostly Cotton and has gold trimmings on the border which make it look royal.
However, with the passing years, this traditional costume took the form of trend and fashion and gradually became a fashion statement for the changing young generations. The obligation was then replaced by trend, which made this piece of garment more fashionable in its essence, rather than being plain ritualistic. These days one may wear a Pheta only on special events, which is contrary to the age old Marathi tradition where it was a mandatory part of the entire outfit, and was to be adorned on a day to day basis. Other than the old traditional white and Saffron encrusted Pheta, there are two major varieties available. One is the famous Kolhapuri Pheta, which comes in a multitude of colors and has a Bandhani effect on it. The other major variety consists of a Puneri Pheta which comes in checkered patterns and has a distinct gold border in it. There are different styles of draping a Pheta is always determined by the nature of the place or the location and even famous personalities. For example, if we take the example of places, there are styles like the Kolhapuri style, Mawali style, Puneri style, Lahiri style and many more. On the other hand, style and varieties are also very much connected to distinguished persons like Shahi Pheta, Mahatma Gandhi Pheta, Tukaram Maharaj Pheta and many such varied and popular styles. This simple piece of fabric called pheta is draped around the head in 6 to 7 rounds with a little piece of the turban hanging loose like a tail which is called as Shemala. Some Pheta cloths are plain and single-colored, while few are lined and double-colored.
Now-a-days, the traditional Phetas are given a trendier and a youthful feel which not only enchants the youth but can also be worn to flaunt a traditional style and appeal. Today’s western version of Phetas/turbans are more colorful, reversible, adjustable and come in different metallic and satin fabrics which have replaced the mundane, ear warming head gears. The vibrant nature and look of the turban makes it ideal for any party or occasion. Several Indian celebrities as well as political leaders have worn the Marathi Petha in different forms which has given this headdress a global appeal and has made an impact on several people worldwide. Several fashion designers have imitated the style of the Marathi Petha and have used it to give their collection a touch of Maharashtrian ethnicity. Among all the different varieties of Phetas, the Puneri Pheta has been universally accepted as the most auspicious one that is handed over during the nuptials of a wedding. Gradually, this age old tradition of marathi Pheta became an auspicious ritual for people, be it any culture all over India. Marathi Pheta when donned gives the wearer a noble and distinct look which automatically speaks for itself without any need of any additional adornments. If we follow the traditional roots of Maharashtra, then this head gear completes the typical Marathi attire, consisting of Kurta-Pajamas along with Kolhapuri Chappals. Weddings, religious ceremonies or cultural occassions which mark a distinction for the Marathi men seem incomplete without the Marathi Pheta, which only adds to the cultural and traditional charm of Maharashtra. Besides weddings and other traditional and religious ceremonies, the Mysore Phetas also enhance the ambiance during Indian festivals like Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Dussehra, etc. The latest fashionable Phetas can also be worn at formal, semi-formal and casual events, crediting to its flexibility and elegance.
Since it is made out of Cotton or now Polyester, maintaining a Pheta is not difficult and a normal hand or machine wash would be fine to keep the cloth free of any adulteration.
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